December 11, 2017

Canada: Budget Cut Causing More than Half of Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries to Close in Next Two Years

From the CBC:

The library board in Newfoundland and Labrador announced sweeping changes to its services Wednesday, adopting a regional library model which will see 54 branches close in the next two years.

The board met Tuesday to discuss how best to deal with a $1-million loss in its annual budget, a cut made in the provincial budget.

Read the Complete Article

Full Text of Official Announcement by Provincial Information and Library Resources Board

The Provincial Information and Library Resources Board met on Tuesday, April 26, to discuss changes to library services. Through Budget 2016 the annualized budget for the board has been reduced by $1 million. The board voted in favour of adopting a regional library model which will see the closure of a number of libraries and a strategic reinvestment by the Provincial Government into library resources.

“The Provincial Information and Library Resources Board has voted to implement a regional library model. While it is a difficult decision to close a significant number of libraries, we do feel the implementation of the regional model, along with a strategic reinvestment back into libraries will allow residents to continue to have access to our many library resources. These changes are not easy, but we feel that in the long term they will provide an improved library system.”
Calvin Taylor, Chair, Provincial Information and Library Resources Board

The implementation of a regional library model is a collaborative effort between the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board and Provincial Government and will occur over a two-year period resulting in:

  • Over 85 per cent of residents being within a 30 minute drive to the nearest library;
  • The closure of 54 libraries over two years, with 41 libraries remaining open. The Provincial Information and Library Resources Board is currently notifying impacted employees and will release the list of libraries identified for closure once this process is complete;
  • A reinvestment into libraries for necessary capital improvements, additional library materials and program offerings;
  • Enhancements to the eBooks and books-by-mail services;
  • Implementation of a minimum service standard and operating hours of no less than 30 hours per week;
  • No change to the current library materials budget so that funding may be reinvested across the remaining libraries; Continued access to library resources for students in schools with public libraries identified for closure; and
  •  Municipalities, where feasible, will be offered the opportunity to assume responsibility for libraries located in municipal buildings.

“The decisions that had to be made during Budget 2016 were difficult, but focus on the long-term goal of fiscal sustainability for our province. We recognize that the implementation of a regional library model will see changes to library services. The Provincial Government will work with the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board to help it through its transition and transformation of our library system into a more efficient one for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
The Honourable Dale Kirby, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development

Through the budget process the Provincial Government identified savings of over $1.7 million for library operations. With the implementation of the regional library model, the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board’s budget will be reduced by just over $1 million, with approximately $652,000 being reinvested to enhance current services.

See Also: Reaction From the Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association

Direct to Newfoundland and Labrador Libraries Web Site ||| Electronic Resources Portal

On a Somewhat Related Note…
Newfoundland Set To Become First Province in Canada To Tax Books (via CBC)

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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